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Buying an electric car: What French aids are available to help?

A number of cities, departments and regions have their own schemes, on top of national offers to help make this greener option more affordable

The are different schemes around the country to get more electric cars on the roads Pic: Aimer Kytt / Shutterstock

Reader Question: What help is currently available to buy a new car in France?

HELP available for this is essentially for purchase of the most eco-friendly vehicles. France currently has several measures designed to incentivise drivers to opt for cleaner vehicles. 

Bonus écologique 

The bonus écologique offers grants worth 27% of the cost of an electric car, up to €6,000. 

Vehicles costing less than €47,000 qualify for the maximum amount, while for those up €60,000 it is capped at €2,000. 

The smaller amount is also available for hydrogen-powered cars costing more than €60,000. 

An amount of €1,000 is available for the purchase of a plug-in hybrid costing less than €50,000, or a second-hand electric car. 

The grants, which are not means-tested, were due to fall by €1,000 in July, meaning they would be abolished entirely for hybrids and second-hand vehicles, but have been extended until the end of the year. 

Prime à la conversion 

If you are replacing an older, more polluting vehicle, you could also qualify for a means-tested conversion bonus. 

Low-income households can apply if they are trading in a petrol car registered before 2006, or a diesel from earlier than 2011, for a cleaner model. 

It is possible to receive €2,500 for an electric vehicle or a plugin hybrid able to run 50km on electricity, or €1,500 for other hybrids and vehicles which have the official Crit’Air 1 rating. 

These amounts are doubled for people who live more than 30km from their workplace or drive a lot for work, as well as those on the very lowest incomes. 

Both the bonus écologique and the prime à la conversion can be deducted from the price you pay if the dealership agrees. Otherwise, you will need to apply online after purchase to claim the money back. 

Interest-free loans 

From January 2023, France will test zero-interest loans of up to €30,000 to help drivers who work or live in designated low-emission zones to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle. The policy will initially be trialled for two years, and will be open to those who are on low incomes or are self-employed. 

The zones, which include large cities such as Paris, Lyon and Grenoble, are areas where the air quality is particularly poor. 

Local aid 

A number of cities, departments and regions have their own local schemes which can be added on top of national grants. 

For example, up to 1,000 people living in the Bouches du Rhône department can receive €5,000, without income requirements, towards a new electric vehicle. 

The Ecology Ministry has a website dedicated to explaining the different local and national schemes, which can be found here: jechangemavoiture.gouv.fr.

Related links

Electric cars: northern France to become battery-making corridor

€6,000 grant to help buy an electric car

Electric car owners let down by lack of fast charges in France

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